Another step forward for China and Taiwan

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Chinese and Taiwanese airlines today began operating scheduled direct flights for the first time in 60 years. For several years, they have been operating regular chartered flights. But this has been formalised into a scheduled structure after an agreement earlier this year.

Yet, the good news has been tempered by the fact that the Dalai Lama, who is persona non grata in China, is in Taiwan this week. Unsurprisingly, China has objected and analysts say that the visit could test bilateral relations that have been warming ever since Ma Ying Jeou became Taiwan’s premier last year. It shows that the relationship remains tenuous.

On my recent visit to Taiwan, several people in the aerospace industry spoke about a new dimension in the China-Taiwan relationship – one that emphasises economic development rather than politics as a way to warmer ties. They point to the Chinese invitation to Taiwan’s AIDC to participate in the Comac 919 programme as one example of that.

Both AIDC, and airlines on both sides of the straits, will be hoping that pragmatism rather than ideology continues to be the driving force in Sino-Taiwanese relations.

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One Response to Another step forward for China and Taiwan

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